September Shade
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Horticulture Stories


Stories from the park's horticulture team

September Shade

By Stacie Martin

Fall is on our doorstep, but the need for shade is still strong in September! In the horticulture world, a "shade tree" refers to a tree that has a medium to tall height and a spreading canopy of leaves and branches, instead of a tree that is either short or narrow. A shade tree casts a wonderful shadow and is great to have picnics under, to read a book under, and is also a great place for a nap. Some of our favorite shade trees in Gathering Place are oak trees, including White Oak and Red Oak, as well as Sugar Maples, Red Maples, Honey Locust, and even Pistache and Paulownias! Shade trees are great to plant on the west side of a house to help provide natural cooling.


We love our trees at Gathering Place! During Park construction, we were able to protect 300 trees already growing on the property, and planted over 6000 more!

Efforts were taken to protect this lovely Pin Oak, pictured above on the left, during construction. The tree's roots extend much further than its canopy, so root mass was removed. However, much care was taken during the design process to ensure that the least amount of roots were removed as possible. During construction, a fence was installed to protect other roots from the risk of compaction by equipment and material staging. 

Tree planting designs ranged from installing large, specimen trees to smaller, densely planted groups planned to mature into forests. Often, large trees needed a crane for installation! This lovely pond cypress is being planted at the pond’s edge by ONEOK Boathouse. Fall is a great time of year to plant trees to give them a chance to establish before dry periods in winter.

Fall is also a great time of year for trees to grow roots. To take advantage of this, we recommend continued watering, especially for trees that may have experienced drought stress. During periods of root injury, which may include hot, dry months, the root loss sustained hinders the tree’s ability to uptake water in the future. Providing sufficient irrigation at a time when roots are actively growing, such as during fall, is a great way to regenerate damaged roots. Our top irrigation tips for trees include watering the entire root zone, watering deeply, and watering infrequently. Things to avoid include unnecessary overwatering and fertilizer. Excess fertilizer in tree leaves can actually attract opportunistic, pesky insects.